Tsuyoshi Nishioka Rumors

Odds & Ends: Rasmus, Gilbert, Nishioka, Hoffman

MLBTR wishes all of its American readers a very happy Thanksgiving.  For those readers not from the USA…uh, happy Thursday!  Onto some news items:

  • "Three contending clubs" have a "persisting interest" in Colby Rasmus, tweets Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  Strauss noted in a follow-up tweet that these are teams with a "new interest," so presumably that eliminates past suitors like the Braves, Blue Jays, Diamondbacks and White Sox.  The Rasmus rumor mill seemed to have petered out, with the most recent report stating that there was a 99% chance that Rasmus would still be in St. Louis next season.
  • Dennis Gilbert will not try to buy the Houston Astros, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com.  Gilbert led a group bidding for the Rangers earlier this year and has been rumored to be a potential future ownership candidate for the Dodgers.
  • The Twins are "very much in on" Tsuyoshi Nishioka, tweets Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman.  We heard last week that Minnesota had an interest in the Japanese infielder.
  • When Kevin Towers was general manager of the Padres, he planned to eventually bring Trevor Hoffman back to San Diego so the future Hall-of-Fame closer could retire as a Padre, tweets Fanhouse.com's Tom Krasovic.  Though Towers has moved on to Arizona, Krasovic says there's a chance Hoffman could still return to San Diego now that Sandy Alderson and Paul DePodesta are no longer with the organization.
  • Bill James talks to CBSSports.com's Evan Brunell about a variety of topics, including the new Mets front office, the Justin Upton trade rumors and what the Royals should do with Zack Greinke.
  • Joe Pawlikowski of the River Ave Blues blog wishes the Derek Jeter negotiations moved as smoothly as Mike Mussina's contract talks with the Yankees after the 2006 season.

Orioles Notes: Martinez, Randolph, Nishioka

The Orioles declined to offer arbitration to Kevin Millwood or Koji Uehara tonight. Here are the other hot stove-related items about the O's:

  • President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail tells Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun that he's "disappointed" to have missed out on Victor Martinez. The Orioles made Martinez a four-year $48MM offer at the general manager meetings in Orlando last week and were not given the chance to raise their offer, according to Zrebiec. MacPhail says the O's are now "looking at other options."
  • The Orioles agreed to sign former Mets manager Willie Randolph to be Buck Showalter's bench coach, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.
  • The Orioles did not bid on Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka, according to Connolly (on Twitter).

Sabean On Huff, Burrell, Uribe

Giants GM Brian Sabean spoke to reporters today on the Aubrey Huff conference call, and Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News has all the details.

Padres Notes: Nishioka, Hairston, Durango

Here's the latest on the Padres from MLB.com's Corey Brock…

  • San Diego won't be making a bid for Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka. (Twitter link)  Brock says the club can't afford to get into the bidding or signing process.
  • As part of a reader mailbag, Brock says that the Padres' next focus is on finding help for the middle infield.  He thinks the Friars will be looking to sign an infielder to a one-year contract, similar to the deals David Eckstein (now a free agent) signed with the team over the last two seasons.  San Diego will be free to sign either a second baseman or a shortstop since Brock thinks Everth Cabrera could easily make the transition to play second if need be. 
  • Jerry Hairston Jr. and the Padres are both interested in having Hairston return in 2011.
  • The Cameron Maybin trade seems to leave Luis Durango without a position and, in Brock's opinion, without a spot on the roster.  Brock thinks Durango could be packaged with a pitcher in a trade since other teams could be attracted by Durango's speed.
  • Speaking of the Maybin deal, Brock believes "the Padres got a steal" from Florida.

Red Sox Notes: Nishioka, Ortiz, Kelly, Doubront

Some items about a team that will likely be very busy this winter…

  • The Red Sox are "undecided" about a bid for Tsuyoshi Nishioka, reports WEEI's Rob Bradford.  There was some debate earlier in the week whether or not Boston is interested in the Japanese infielder, and Bradford speculates that the Sox might not bother posting a bid given how Jose Iglesias is positioned to be their shortstop of the future.
  • David Ortiz is "fine" with not getting an extension from the Red Sox though he still feels his strong 2010 season was deserving of a multi-year deal, reports ESPNBoston.com's Jackie MacMullan.  In thinly veiled references to his own situation, Ortiz predicts Vladimir Guerrero will re-sign with Texas for "more than one year, too" and wants Derek Jeter "to get rewarded for all he had done for [the Yankees]."
  • ESPN's Keith Law was a guest on WEEI's Minor Details podcast, and WEEI.com's Alex Speier has a partial transcript of Law's Boston-related comments.  Law is very complimentary of Boston's minor league system, saying that they have the variety of prospects necessary to fit the needs of about 20 other teams.   
  • When asked about a potential Adrian Gonzalez deal, Law says he wouldn't be willing to send a top prospect like Casey Kelly to San Diego since Gonzalez is just under contract through 2011.  "Casey Kelly is not untouchable for me, but he’s pretty darn close to it," Law said.  "I don’t think I’d trade Casey Kelly for one year of Adrian Gonzalez, and I love Adrian Gonzalez.”
  • Law calls Felix Doubront and Jed Lowrie "very valuable secondary piece[s]" to a trade given that both players can immediately join a major league roster.  Law cites the Padres and Pirates as "a great fit" for a pitcher like Doubront.

Orioles Have Some Interest In Nishioka, De La Rosa

The Orioles aren’t as interested in Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Jorge de la Rosa as it may seem. Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun hears that the O’s have not decided whether to bid on Nishioka, since the posting fee and contract could make the infielder prohibitively expensive. Earlier today, a Japanese report suggested the Orioles had decided to place a bid on Nishioka.

The Denver Post reported this week that the Nationals, Pirates and Orioles have pursued De La Rosa most aggressively, but Zrebiec says the O’s have just “tepid” interest in the lefty.

The Orioles have had multiple conversations with Koji Uehara’s representatives and, according to MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli, are active in trade discussions, too (Twitter link). Baltimore appears to be considering potential deals for a shortstop.

Orioles To Bid On Nishioka

The Orioles' search for a shortstop has led them to Japan and to the trade market. They are going to bid on Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka according to a Sports Hochi report relayed by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker. The Mariners and Padres also seem likely to bid, but the Giants will not bid and the D'Backs probably won't either.

The Dodgers and Cardinals have some interest in Nishioka and we should know the high bidder by early next week. The 26-year-old switch hitter batted .346 with 22 steals and 206 hits last year. ESPN.com's Keith Law and Newman recently offered more analysis of his game.

The Orioles have also discussed deals for J.J. Hardy and Jason Bartlett and have dangled David HernandezDan Connolly of the Sun says he's not sure he would give up Hernandez for either shortstop, since he's a big believer in the right-hander's upside, particularly as a reliever.

Twins, Red Sox Eyeing Nishioka?

3:32pm: The Red Sox are also in on Nishioka, tweets SI's Jon Heyman.  However, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe disagrees (Twitter link).

8:25am: The Twins' Orlando HudsonJ.J. Hardy middle infield combination may not stick around for 2011.  Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune runs through the possibilities.

For starters, the Twins are expected to bid on Tsuyoshi Nishioka this week.  However, Christensen finds the team unlikely to win the bidding.  Nishioka was posted Monday, and the high bidder should be revealed next week.

Only one of Hudson and Hardy is expected to be retained, and Christensen writes of "growing indications" the Twins will tender Hardy a contract at the December 2nd deadline.  In an August 17th poll, almost 84% of you expected Hardy to be tendered.  If they keep Hardy and lose out on Nishioka, it looks like Alexi Casilla will get a shot as the regular second baseman.

Dodgers Rumors: Martin, Loney, Dunn, Nishioka

The latest on the Dodgers, from Kevin Baxter of the L.A. Times

  • GM Ned Colletti admitted the team will spend the most time debating what to do about catcher Russell Martin, who we've pegged as a non-tender candidate.  The Dodgers could try to bring him back for less than this year's $5.05MM, writes Baxter.  Martin was sidelined by a hip injury this year, though he expects to be ready for Spring Training.  His agent recently told Baxter's colleague Dylan Hernandez that his client hopes to remain with the Dodgers.
  • Another player I was willing to call a non-tender or at least trade candidate, James Loney, "is all but certain to return at first base" according to Baxter.  He could earn around $5MM despite a disappointing 2010 season.  Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported recently that Loney is the position player the Dodgers are most willing to trade as they look to add power to the lineup. 
  • The Dodgers have uncertainty at left field and second base, but Baxter says they're not expected to bid on Adam Dunn or Tsuyoshi Nishioka.  Instead, they could continue to add pitching.

Chiba Lotte Marines To Post Tsuyoshi Nishioka

TUESDAY, 7:55pm: NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman tweets that we should know the high bidder by the 22nd or 23rd.

MONDAY, 8:26pm: The Chiba Lotte Marines are set to announce that they will post infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka within the hour, reports FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal and Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan (Twitter links). Rosenthal notes that Nishioka will be represented by the Beverly Hills Sports Council while Passan speculates that the bidding could approach $15-20MM in a thin shortstop market.

Both the Giants and Dodgers have expressed interest in the 26-year-old switch-hitter, who hit .346 with 22 steals in 2010. ESPN's Keith Law (Insider req'd) described Nishioka as "valuable as an everyday guy on a second-division club," though he mentions that he struggles with good fastballs and doesn't offer much in the power department. NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman offered up his thoughts at FanGraphs recently, saying he sees Nishioka as a Ryan Theriot/Chone Figgins type.